What is commonly known as the St. Andrew Christmas Novena — or The St Andrew Christmas Prayer— is not a novena (because it is prayed for more than nine days), nor is it a prayer to St. Andrew. Instead, it is a most simple, unusual and beautiful prayer recitation that prepares the soul for Christmas. Those of us associated with the Catholic Business Journal can personally attest to this prayer’s power to transform the human spirit into a deeper, inner preparation for the celebration of Our Lord’s birth.
Officially starting on the Feast of St. Andrew (November 30), this simple prayer is traditionally recited 15 times a day and runs every day through Christmas. Many begin on the First Sunday of Advent.
Don’t be discouraged. It is VERY simple. And, what’s astounding is that you’ll soon find the simple act of repeating the words 15 times a day eventually begins to act like a sort of inner compass focusing your heart more and more on the true meaning of Christmas and less on the frenzy surrounding the season.
As writer Scott Riechter explains in an article, “The opening words of this prayer—”Hail and blessed be the hour and moment”—may seem odd at first. But they reflect the Christian belief that moments in the life of Christ—His conception in the womb of the Blessed Virgin at the Annunciation; His birth in Bethlehem; His death on Calvary; His Resurrection; His Ascension—are not only special but, in an important sense, still present to the faithful today.
“The repetition of the first sentence of this prayer is designed to place us, mentally and spiritually, there in the stable at His birth, just as an icon of the Nativity or a Nativity scene is meant to do. Having entered into His presence, in the second sentence we place our petition at the feet of the newborn Child.”
Effects stay with you
Surprisingly, you may find yourself reciting the words of the prayer “Hail and Blessed be the hour…” at other times of the year, which is a wonderful reminder of our creature status and the magnitude and humility of the Heavenly King whom we strive to serve. It is perhaps the happy consequence of the sheer simplicity and frequency of recitation of this Christmas prayer.
Always the words bring you back to what’s most important in our short lives on earth, regardless of the our business dealings and deals and even regardless of family issues. It’s a beautiful thing, really. Perhaps this is the year to see for yourself. Don’t worry if you’re just now coming on board the Christmas prayers, you will still benefit abundantly!
The Saint Andrew Christmas Prayer
There are several slightly different variations, so here is one popular version:
Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in the piercing cold. In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God! to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of His Blessed Mother. Amen..
Remember, 15 times a day, every day to Christmas. The 15 recitations a day may be said all at once or broken up during the day.
Share your experience with us on social media or in the Comments below, after Christmas!
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